Did you know that April is Stress Awareness month?

Did you know that April is Stress Awareness month?  How are you really feeling?

Millions of us are experiencing high levels of stress and it can damage our health. From primary school children taking their SATs in May, secondary school students taking GCSE’s and Alevels, not to mention switching on the news at the moment, (don’t mention Brexit!) stress is one of the biggest health challenges that we all face.

What is stress?

Stress is not a sign that we are weak. It is a normal reaction to spending a sustained period of time coping with more pressure than we have the capacity to deal with.

Stress can be an important factor in mental health issues that can include anxiety and depression. It can be linked to physical health problems such as heart disease, immune system problems, insomnia and digestive issues.

We should learn what causes us to feel stressed and discover the steps we can take to lessen it, both for ourselves and for those around us.

Stress at work can affect every area of a company too, from sickness rates to interpersonal communications. For organisations, it is important that we can recognise the signs of stress early so that steps can be taken before serious stress-related illnesses may ensue. One challenge that we have when noticing stress in others, is that everyone experiences stress differently and so the signs may be difficult to spot. Here are some things to look for: -

Behaviour changes

Physical changes

Emotional changes

Communication changes

Absence from work


Increase in irritability

Decrease in concentration

Decrease in sense of humour


Increase in tearfulness

Decrease in listening skills

More accident prone


Easily angered


Becoming more introverted

Increase or decrease in appetite

Worried/panic attacks

Difficulty in making choices and decisions

Increase in smoking

Aches and pains

More impatient

Increase in forgetfulness

Increase in alcohol use


Mood swings

Lack of planning skills

Increased aggression


More frightened

Increase in negative thoughts

Decrease in motivation




Increase or decrease in appetite




Increase in restlessness





So, what can we do?

If you think that a colleague is stressed, encourage them to talk to someone, whether it’s their line manager or a GP.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has a toolkit which can be downloaded here.

Other tips to cope with stress: -

1. Understanding when stress is becoming an issue and trying to identify the causes
2. Try to tackle the causes of stress and to increase emotional resilience
3. Eat a healthy diet and taking meals regularly, drink plenty of water
4. Avoid unhealthy habits such as smoking and excessive drinking
5. Take time every day for self-care and spend time with family and friends
6. Set goals to build confidence and take small steps every day.
7. Put problems into perspective by helping others
8. Focus on positives and practice gratefulness.

According to the HSE, across Great Britain, work-related stress accounts for over half (57%) of all working days lost to ill health. In the last 12 months, over 600 000 workers reported suffering from stress, depression or anxiety, caused or made worse by work. 

Taking action on stress brings business benefits; it reduces sickness absence, boosts morale and helps improve productivity, and the law requires employers to tackle work-related stress.

According to Deloitte, poor mental health costs the UK economy between £74 billion and £99 billion a year.   We all have a responsibility to implement better mental health, wellbeing and support in the workplace.  Why not train a mental health first aider? Mental Health First Aid in the workplace is the mental health equivalent of physical first aid.

See our courses near you here 

This Stress Awareness Month, what can you do to promote awareness in others as well as manage your own stress levels?

Why choose First Response? (First Aid) Ltd

First Response (First Aid) Ltd have some of the most amazing trainers out there and anybody who has had the pleasure of attending any one of the many courses would fully agree with this statement.

Well done team First Response (First Aid) Ltd and a big thank you goes out to our customers for providing us with so much positive feedback.

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